Masks are an ancient tradition of the Alutiiq people on the southern coast of Alaska. Alutiiq artists carved the masks from wood or bark into images of ancestors, animal spirits, and other mythological forces; these extraordinary creations have been an essential tool for communicating with the spirit world and have played an important role in dances and hunting festivities for centuries. Giinaquq—Like a Face presents thirty-three full-color images of these fantastic and eye-catching masks, which have been preserved for more than a century as part of the Pinart Collection in a small French museum.
These masks, collected in 1871 by a young French scholar of indigenous cultures, are presented for the first time in their complete cultural context, celebrating the rich history of the Alutiiq people and their artistic traditions. In addition to the stunning photographs, Giinaquq—Like a Face includes an informative text in three languages—English, Alutiiq, and French—in order to provide a cross-cultural understanding of the masks’ traditional meaning and use.
This captivating and revealing book will be an essential resource for anyone interested in indigenous art and culture.